The TikTok FOMO Is Real

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As a teen, TikTok creates stress in my life. When I hang out with friends, they often ask if I want to make a TikTok with them. I never suggest it, but it nearly always comes up. I want to be nice and say yes, but then I worry that other friends will see the clip and feel excluded that they weren’t part of it. At times, TikToks have made me feel separate from my friends, and I don’t want to make anyone else feel that. How can I be polite and still respect my friends’ feelings?


You sound like an exceedingly kind person. It’s not always the case that someone takes a hurtful experience — say, being excluded from friends’ TikToks — and resolves not to hurt others the same way. I believe that your empathy will serve you well.

Let me suggest two ways to approach your friends. If you really don’t enjoy dreaming up concepts for clips, filming them and sharing them on social media, just say, “Let’s do something else. I need a breather from TikTok.” You may be surprised that others agree. Sometimes posting can feel like pressure.

But if the only thing stopping you is your fear of hurting absent friends, why not include a few when you hang out? Or invite others to make TikToks with you later? We can’t all be invited to everything. And much of social life is an accident: being in the right place at the right time. Better to expand the pool of people who are in those places than reject fun opportunities when they arise. (And never stop being so thoughtful!)

Credit…Christoph Niemann

My boyfriend flew to Tulum for a vacation. I refused to go because I didn’t think it was safe. I have an autoimmune disease that puts me at greater risk for developing severe symptoms of Covid-19. Now, I see pictures of my boyfriend going to parties in Tulum, getting spa treatments and not wearing a mask. He won’t commit to getting tested the day he returns. In March, he was the one panicking! How do I get him to understand that his behavior is potentially dangerous for my health?


I don’t want to go overboard. You haven’t said how serious your relationship is or how you expressed your concerns to your boyfriend. Still, saying “I see red flags here” is a big understatement. This guy is prioritizing a good (and seemingly reckless) time in Mexico over his and your well-being.

A medical note: You are placing too much faith in testing on the day your boyfriend returns from vacation. Testing is important, but there may be a lag between infection with the virus and testing positive for Covid-19. The only safe alternative is for him to quarantine for a period. Many states recommend 14 days.

Now, six months into this pandemic, your question isn’t rocket science. If your boyfriend refuses to wear a mask or observe social distancing and other sensible safety precautions, consider making his post-vacation quarantine a permanent one. Why would you want a boyfriend who doesn’t care about keeping you or himself safe?

I recently reconnected with a person from my past on whom I am now developing a major crush. The feeling is mutual, which is great. But the other day, we discovered that we share a much-loved therapist. I’ve always wanted to date an evolved person who goes to a therapist — just not mine! I also get the sense that neither of us wants to find a new therapist. Help!


Crushes are mostly fantasy — and fun! But there’s a long road between a crush, however “major,” and a relationship that’s likely to cause your therapist ethical problems or you and your friend discomfort. For now, just enjoy getting to know each other again.

Sure, tell your therapist about the crush. But why borrow trouble? If this spark of interest develops into a romance — or if you, your friend or the therapist feel uncomfortable — your therapist can help one or both of you find new therapists. Your focus on therapy, though, instead of the relationship, suggests this may be a ways off.

We received an evite to a virtual wedding. We weren’t on the guest list for the original wedding (in real life) which was canceled as result of the coronavirus pandemic. That was fine with us because we’re only casual friends of the groom’s parents. Now that we’re invited to the Zoom wedding and “celebration,” are we expected to give a gift? We barely know the groom and never met the bride.


Nine out of 10 wedding questions I receive are about gifts. I find this nearly as odd as the pent-up anger over so-called “gift grabs” (being invited to weddings where we think we’re only wanted for our gifts).

I can’t tell whether this invitation is welcome or suspect to you. But it’s pretty simple either way: If you want to go to the Zoom wedding, say yes, then log in and send a token gift. If you don’t, decline politely and call it a day.

For help with your awkward situation, send a question to [email protected], to Philip Galanes on Facebook or @SocialQPhilip on Twitter.

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